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© 2020

Social Media and the Post-Truth World Order

The Global Dynamics of Disinformation

Book

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

“This book convincingly argues that the truth of the post-truth condition is not to be found in the details but within a global discursive space where state and non-state actors, established powers and emerging political networks, build surprising alliances to hegemonize the public sphere and upend the post-1989 world order.”  

—Marco Deseriis, Assistant Professor, Scuola Normale Superiore Florence, Italy


“Finally, we have a theory of post-truth that emerges from a global analysis. Social Media and the Post-Truth World Order is a welcome contribution to post-truth studies.”

—Jayson Harsin, Associate Professor and Chair, Global Communications Department, The American University of Paris, France

 

“This timely book demonstrates that post-truth is not some isolated manifestation of fakery, but a collective domain that spans the world as an alternative self-sustaining universe. The result is a must-read book that lays bare the emergent post-truth world order.”

—Ignas Kalpokas, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Communication, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania


This book discusses post-truth not merely as a Western issue, but as a problematic political and cultural condition with global ramifications. By locating the roots of the phenomenon in the trust crisis suffered by liberal democracy and its institutions, the book argues that post-truth serves as a space for ideological conflicts and geopolitical power struggles that are reshaping the world order. The era of post-truth politics is thus here to stay, and its reach is increasingly global: Russian trolls organizing events on social media attended by thousands of unaware American citizens; European social media users spreading fictional political narratives in support of the Syrian regime; Facebook offering a platform for a harassment campaign by Buddhist ultranationalists in Myanmar that led to the killing of thousands of Muslims. These are just some of the examples that demonstrate the dangerous effects of the Internet-driven global diffusion of disinformation and misinformation. Grounded on a theoretical framework yet written in an engaging and accessible way, this timely book is a valuable resource for students, researchers, policymakers and citizens concerned with the impact of social media on politics.

Gabriele Cosentino is an independent researcher working on Political Communication and Disinformation. He owns a PhD in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University, USA.


Keywords

2016 Election Trump Fake News Epistemic Crisis Media Democracy YouTube Facebook Twitter Social Media Post-Truth Promotionalism Polarization Internet Disinformation Misinformation Postmodern Relativism Western Media Political Institutions Geopolitics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.BaabdaLebanon

About the authors

Gabriele Cosentino is an independent researcher working on Political Communication and Disinformation. He holds a Laurea degree in Communication Science from the University of Bologna, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University, USA. He has previously published on the topic of post-truth politics, and appeared in several journal articles and edited collections on Political Entertainment and Cultural Globalization. He has taught at various universities in the USA, Europe and the Middle East.  

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“If the post-truth order is primarily marked by a generalized loss of trust in traditional sources of authority and information as well as a growing fragmentation of the media sphere, this book convincingly argues that the truth of the post-truth condition is not to be found in the details but within a global discursive space where state and non-state actors, established powers and emerging political networks, build surprising alliances to hegemonize the public sphere and upend the post-1989 world order.”  

Marco Deseriis, Assistant Professor, Scuola Normale Superiore Florence, Italy


“Finally, we have a theory of post-truth that emerges from an international or global analysis. In this excellent development of empirically-grounded post-truth theory, Cosentino moves from well-known cases such as Pizzagate and Russian trolls in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, to cases that have received little to no attention in media and political communication studies, such as the "White Helmets" rumors amplified by Russian media in the Syrian civil war, the Facebook hate speech campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and the disinformation apparatus that propelled Bolsonaro to power in Brazil. Cosentino’s analysis is also unique in its attention to the use of an array of platforms and spaces of media that are exploited for disinformative and misinformative purposes, including 4chan and 8chan, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, in addition to traditional news media. His work engages with the problems of international political economy in the post-truth matrix, especially how the agents of post-truth exploit the weaknesses of media laws. Finally, he does not shy away from drawing lessons from his case studies for technical, educational, regulatory and political intervention. Social Media and the Post-Truth World Order is a welcome contribution to a growing body of theory and empirical analysis in post-truth studies.”

Jayson Harsin, Associate Professor and Chair, Global Communications Department, The American University of Paris, France

 

“In this book, Gabriele Cosentino masterfully addresses perhaps the greatest lacuna in post-truth studies by demonstrating its global nature. By dedicating a substantial portion of the text to cases beyond the West, he manages to not only broaden our geographical scope of understanding post-truth but also to tease out the latter’s preconditions and characteristics that remain constant across national, political, and cultural contexts and can, therefore, be seen as the phenomenon's core traits. Ultimately, this timely book demonstrates that post-truth is not some isolated manifestation of fakery, but a collective domain that spans the world as an alternative self-sustaining universe. The result is a must-read book that lays bare the emergent post-truth world order.”

Ignas Kalpokas, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Communication, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania